June 1 2010 by Karla Henriquez
There's a reason people are willing to sit in horrific traffic to reach the far eastern end of Long Island - it has beautiful beaches, picturesque towns, and world-class shopping, dining, and nightlife. Somehow the Hamptons manage to be both charmingly quaint and extraordinarily sophisticated.
If you've watched enough television, you've caught glimpses of life out there - manicured lawns, posh boutiques, privacy hedges, perfectly groomed people. The whole place may seem inaccessible and even uninteresting to anyone who doesn't have a hefty trust fund or a seven-figure annual income. That is not the case! This is a part of New York you do not want to miss.
Those readers who are loyal Best Western customers will want to stay at the Bar Harbour Inn and make a daytrip to the area. It's also a good place to spend the night on your way to or from the Hamptons, especially if you are exploring all of Long Island.
There are many towns, each with its own attractions and personality that make up the Hamptons. You may want to visit one, two, or all of them. Here's a quick breakdown of what each town has to offer:
- Settled in 1640, it was the first village in the South Fork of Long Island
- Attracts socialites and the noveaux riche
- Home to the Parrish Art Museum, which houses 19th and 20th century American art
- Visit Old Halsey House and Southampton Historical Museum to step into the area's past
- Lay out your towel and play in the water at Cooper Neck Beach or Old Town Beach
- Eat at Le Chef Bistro, a French restaurant with a lively bar
- Attend the annual Shinnecock Pow Wow on Labor Day weekend to experience traditional native American dances, food, and arts and crafts from all over the country
- Home of those with Old Money as well as actors, writers, producers, and other media types
- Once voted the most beautiful town in America for its perfect colonial homes, white picket fences, and perfect lawns
- Visit Historic James Lane to see a restored saltbox and Mulford Farm
- See and old windmill right at the end of Main Street
- Appreciate modern art at Guild Hall
- Read a book and swim at Main Beach, Georgica Beach, or Two Mile Hollow
- A former whaling port, it houses a Whaling Museum and was featured in Moby Dick
- Visit Custom House, where Henry Packer Dering recorded all the goods coming into the harbor and Old Whalers Church, built in an Egyptian Revival style
- Take your children to the Sag Harbor Variety Store for the chance to pick inexpensive odds and ends at an old-fashioned five-and-dime
- Take in Peconic and Noyack Bays from the Elizabeth Morton National Wildlife Refuge
- Check out some yachts while you dine at Dockside Bar & Grill
- Name means "place of good waters"
- Visit Miss Amelia's Cottage, still furnished with Mary Amelia Schellingers belongings, which date back to the time between 1841 and 1930
- Walk around the creaky old East Hampton Marine Museum for a look at fishing and whaling artifacts and boats
- Eat at the Lobster Roll, a roadside diner
- Dance and drink at Stephen Talkhouse, where Billy Joel and other well-known musicians have been playing for a long time
- An artist community
- Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner lived here and you can visit their farmhouse
- Bird watch at Merrill Lake Sanctuary
- Surrounded by dunes and sandy beaches
- Used to be where Long Island's cattle spent the summer
- Visit Indian Field, where Montauks were buried long ago
- Explore three state parks: Hither Hills (where you can camp), Montauk Downs, and Montauk Point
- Get a picture at Long Island's most popular lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington
- Ride on horseback through Deep Hollow Ranch
- Whale watch
- Have pancakes at John's Pancake House
Do you have any suggestions of places that are a must see? Share them with us!